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Farm-side cold storages for veggies

The agriculture department has come up with a scheme to increase shelf life of fruits and vegetables by setting up portable cold storage facilities near fields.

By Sanjeev Kumar Verma in Patna
  • Published 26.02.18
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Potato-laden tractors on way to cold storages. Telegraph picture

Patna: The agriculture department has come up with a scheme to increase shelf life of fruits and vegetables by setting up portable cold storage facilities near fields.

A good chunk of produce is damaged every year because of low shelf life of vegetables or fruits, forcing growers to opt for distress sale.

According to official figures around one-fourth of fruits and vegetables are damaged in Bihar from production to marketing because of lack of proper storage facilities. This is huge given the fact that Bihar produced 166 lakh tonnes of vegetables and 42.3 lakh tonnes of fruits in 2016-17.

"The state government will provide subsidy of Rs 6.5 lakh to set up one portable cold storage. It would be solar-powered, so farmers would not have to bear the recurring power cost," said agriculture minister Prem Kumar.

If proper storage facilities are not present, the volume of damaged produce would only increase in coming years as the state is aiming to take production level of fruits to 60 lakh tonnes and vegetables to 252.8 lakh tonnes by 2021-22.

A portable cold storage costs around Rs 13 lakh and has a capacity to store 5 tonnes of produce at a low temperature, increasing its shelf life. The department has a target to set up 38 solar portable cold storages in the current fiscal.

"We have invited firms which make these portable cold storages and they would demonstrate its technology in the agriculture mechanisation fair from February 22-25 at Gandhi Maidan in Patna," an official in the agriculture department told The Telegraph.

Sanjeev Kumar, a vegetable grower from Hajipur, said: "The government should encourage banks to give farmers loans for such schemes as farmers would have to invest Rs 6.5 lakh."